The short story If I Quench Thee by William E. Chambers is an appropriate
story as it effectively deals with the issue of racism by showing it through
the eyes of a racist white father who assumes his daughter is marrying
a black man.
If I Quench Thee
Choose a short story that you know well that deals with an important
issue. State what the issue is and show, by referring to the plot,
character, and technique and how the author has successfully explored
the issue in an interesting and unusual way.
The short story “If I Quench Thee” by William E. Chambers is an
appropriate story as it effectively deals with the issue of racism by
showing it through the eyes of a racist white father who assumes his
daughter is marrying a black man.
“If I Quench Thee” is about Arthur Stern, a successful business man
who visits his daughter who works as a social worker in the ghetto.
Whilst Arthur is visiting her she is visited by a black man who is
rejected by her father because he is racist so he leaves. He waits
outside and thinks about it and realises he can bare his daughter
dating a black man so he goes back to apologise. When he returns he
overhears the black man saying to Arthur’s daughter Monica that
marrying her would be the best the he would do. Hearing this Arthur
fills will anger and leaves. He waits for Tod to come out then murders
him saying that it was a mugging and it was self defence. In the
police station his daughter turns up and tells her father that the
black man was the vicar for her wedding. This has been the only time
Arthur was ever scared.
Arthur Stern is a successful business man who owns a mink farm. He
was in the Korean war which I think lead to his hatred of other races.
Arthur and his daughter don’t get on well as he is a very
materialistic person shown in line 31 when Monica refuses the cheque
and says “Well I don’t really need anything-“
“Seems to me you could use everything” replies Arthur. This shows that
he things you have nothing unless you have money. Arthur is an extreme
racist he thinks that everyone who isn’t white are a bunch of savages
as he says “Toiling for peanuts among a bunch of savages”.
He also believes that he has the right to kill people who are not
white this is shown when he decides to kill Todd just for being black.
Arthur also assumes that all white people think the same way as him as
he assumes that the police officers would see a typical white male a
bit roughed up and a black man lying dead and just think that it was
an attack on the white man.
The relationship between Monica and her father shows a contrast